Ph.D. Special Education


Applications must be completed by January 31 of the application year
Admits full-time or part-time (minimum of 6 credits per semester) study for Fall only.
Note:  Part-time students are not eligible for graduate assistantships.

Application Checklist
  • Minimum of a bachelor's degree in education or related field
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or a minimum 3.0 GPA on the most recent 48 credits
  • Letter of application
  • GRE
  • All international students with a degree from a non-English speaking institution must submit a TOEFL or an IELTS score
  • Three professional references
  • Resume
Admissions Process

1. Complete the University Online Application.  

2. Complete the Online Special Education Program Ph.D. Application.

3. If you are an international student, please visit the Office of International Programs for their application procedures.

4.  Once you have completed the program application, we will send an online reference letter form to the three professionals you listed in the application. 

5.  Mail official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate study to: 

Special Education Program Assistant
School of School of Educaiton
109 Canevin Hall
Duquesne University
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15282

Offical transcripts must be obtained from your university's registrar's office. For Duquesne University students, the registrar's office is located on the Ground Floor of the Administration Building. The telephone number is 412.396.6212. 

6.  English Proficiency Requirement: Duquesne University requires submission of TOEFL or IELTS scores for all non-native English speaking applicants. Additionally, the English as a Second Language Program conducts a review of each matriculated student upon arrival to determine individual needs for English instruction to support success in his/her chosen degree program. The University requires the following minimum scores in each area to be considered for admission. TOEFL: a minimum of 80 on the Internet-based Test (iBT) with no sub-score less than 17, or 550 on the paper-based test 
IELTS: a minimum of 6.5 with no sub-score less than those listed for each area
 Minimum required subscores:

Reading 17 6.5
Writing 17 5.5
Speaking 17 5.5
Listening 17 6.0

7.  All students must take the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Information and registration materials for the GRE test can be obtained through GRE or by calling 1(800) GRE-CALL. Computer based tests are given year round and are available on a first come first serve basis by calling 1 (800) GRE-CALL. Test sites are available by calling 1(800) GRE-CALL or on the GRE web-site. There are 2 testing sites available in the Pittsburgh area:

  • University of Pittsburgh
 Fifth Ave. & Bigelow Ave.
G35 Cathedral of Learning
 Pittsburgh, PA 15260
  (412) 624-9103
  • Prometric Testing Center
 5700 Corporate Drive Ct. 
Pittsburgh Office/Research Park 
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
  (412) 247-4463

8.  Interview Requirements
All candidates must complete an interview with special education faculty. Video-based interviews are available to international students and students outside of Greater Pittsburgh.

9.  Starting March 1st, letters of acceptance, wait list, or rejection will be mailed to applicants.

10.  Prior to orientation, you must complete the following 3 clearances before you may register for classes. Results should be submitted to Ms. Lisa Chir. Retain a copy of your clearances for your records:

  • Act 33 - Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Act 34 - Criminal Record Check
  • Act 114 - FBI Clearance 
  • Act 126 Mandatory Reporter Training
  • TB test

Refer to clearances guidelines for instruction.

11. Transfer Students and Advanced Standing
Consistent with university policy, program may accept up to 24 semester credit hours in transfer for a Ph.D. or other academic doctoral program. Professional graduate programs, at both the master's and doctoral level, may accept transfer credit in accordance with commonly accepted practice for their academic discipline within higher education as promoted by their professional accrediting body or learned society.

In addition, transfer credits will be allowed only for courses that closely match existing special education program requirements, and courses must be taken no more than five years prior to the date they are transferred. The academic advisor will initially approve the acceptance of transferred courses in the original registration meeting, but it remains the student's responsibility to produce evidence (i.e., assessment reports, course syllabi, etc). Final approval will be granted by the course instructor.

For students that have a master's in special education or a related field, advanced standing may be applied.

12. Residency Requirement
The Ph.D. requires full-time study, unless noted as part-time at the time of application. Part-time requires at least 6 credits per semester. Once admitted to the program, it is expected that all students will be enrolled continuously. All program requirements (including dissertation) must be completed within 8 years.